The Party Wall etc. Act 1996 defines the rights of Owners and their duties in the event of a dispute arising as a result of work being carried out to a Party Wall, a Party Fence Wall or a Party Structure. If you are intending on constructing a new building or extension within six metres of the foundations of an Adjoining Owner’s foundations or plan to carry out any repairs or alterations to an existing Party Wall then the Act may apply.
Communication is key when it comes to dealing with neighbourly matters. Whilst invoking the Act can seem very formal and litigious, in practice it should be a mechanism to improve communications as well as providing parties with an opportunity of recording the condition of both properties (either side of the Party Wall), thus protecting the interests of all involved.
It is vital that the Party Wall Act is considered and properly administered at the early stages of a project in order to avoid potential delays to the construction programme further down the line.
In the terminology of the Party Wall Act, the neighbour is referred to as the ‘adjoining owner. As the adjoining owner, you are entitled to appoint a Surveyor to ensure that your interests are protected and in most cases you will not have to pay any professional fees. In situations where a formal Party Wall Award is required, the associated costs are ordinarily payable in full by the building owner (the party undertaking the works).
At Fairhurst Buckley, we can provide specialist advice on all Party Wall related matters acting either in the capacity of a Building Owners Surveyor, preparing and issuing Notices, Awards and Schedules of Condition or as an Adjoining Owners Surveyor, ensuring that the Act is correctly administered, disputes are quickly resolved and properties are suitably safeguarded.